March 28, 2008

Greasy Eggs and Ham

My hours at work are from 11 or 11:30 a.m. until close, which leaves me lots of time in the mornings to get up, work out, check email, etc.

Today, however, Tyler wanted to go to breakfast.

After exploring the little nearby town of Minturn a couple days ago, I suggested we hit the Turntable diner. It looked divy and fun, and I had just read in the Vail Daily that it was a favorite spot for breakfast.

It was perfect.

The name isn't just a play on the word Minturn, it also defines the theme of the place. Inside it's all oldies rock 'n roll paraphernalia intermixed with pictures of historic Colorado and Minturn. Early 80s music pumped through the dining room and the hostess/server was everything she should be at a greasy spoon in a small town, complete with the raspy smoker's voice and several "darlins" and "huns" thrown in.

"Coffee?" "Yes," Tyler and I answered obediently. It's the kind of place that doesn't serve frou frou lattes with sugar free syrups. I got mine black to fit in. Tyler threw caution (and manliness) to the wind and added cream and sugar.

Our meal? Well, they certainly don't skimp on portions, that's for sure, and it was all for a meager $10 a piece. Pretty good.

The best part was when we left. I told T he had no choice but to take a picture with me in this:

It was like icing on the cake...or grease on the griddle.

March 27, 2008

First Day!

Today was my first day of work at the kitchen shop!

I'm pretty excited. I'll be working with customers, but also helping with some marketing and advertising projects, the first of which I received today.

Everyone is really nice, and the customers are genuinely happy to be there and seem to love the store, and...I get to wear a cute little apron.

I've definitely made the right choice.

March 25, 2008

Easter Pics

Here are a couple photos from the road as I drove to Grand Junction on Easter Sunday for some exploring, and to hang out with an old acquaintance (who is now a new friend!)...

Pretty, huh?

I've always found geology and stuff like plate tectonics fascinating. Dorky, I know...


I'm starting to get antsy.

The lack of a routine, and a job, and a place of my own - and a plan in general - is starting to make me fidgety.

I don't do well with long periods of doing nothing - or not really having anyone to do anything with. It's been nice to have some time off, and I haven't wanted to rush any decisions, but now I'm starting to get sick of myself! Ha.

Today I emailed some of the PR firms in the valley to inquire about what a person with a communication background does around here. I also called the school district to find out how to become a substitute teacher, since being a teacher is what I may ultimately decide to do.

On top of this, I left a message about an apartment this morning so I could get the ball rolling on my own place.

Not a peep back from anyone - which just makes me more agitated.

My physical fitness here is starting to drive me nuts too. I've been hitting the gym and the running trail, but it's been kicking my butt. Today was better and I was able to run about five minutes longer than I have been, but it's frustrating to go from the mileage I was logging in D.C. to barely being able to make it through a quarter of that. There are a couple of races I'd like to sign up for, but I can't justify the money for them if I'm not going to be ready. Argh.

I just feel very keyed up right now. Maybe it's because I've spent the whole day doing nothing but laundry and sitting on the computer looking up phone numbers and sending emails out. I don't know. But I do know something needs to fall in line and soon.

March 24, 2008

Working girl

In just a few days I will be a working woman again.

Saturday I accepted a job at the aforementioned kitchen shop and I am happy with the decision.

Not only am I happy with it, but I think the job may be a little preordained, and I probably shouldn't mess with divine direction.

When I first talked to one of the owners she mentioned their store's planned expansion and that the ability for them to find the right people to fill all their new positions was, "in God's hands." Then here I was asking if they were hiring.

Now, I've joked about me being a gift from God, but I really haven't meant it. Actually, I think it may be quite the other way around. There is a line in the movie Fools Rush In about how, "there are signs everywhere," and I've always believed that - even before the movie.

Taken by itself the above incident may not mean that much. But combine it with the comment from the same owner that her husband is a pastor who, come to find out at Easter service yesterday is now MY pastor, and I think we're on to something.

I just can't help but think this all lines up for some reason, and for me to turn my back on it would be to go the wrong direction.

The position will also be the perfect combination of the job I needed to take a step back and decide what I really want to do, while using some of my previous PR skills.

I've said all along I expected to have a job making the perfect espresso-drink foam. Little did I know this didn't mean me whipping it up myself, but rather selling the gadget to whip it with.

March 22, 2008

A Plant(ies) Update

For everyone who has been waiting for news on Plant(ies') condition...

Plant(ies) has new growth!

After a nightmare this morning in which I discovered him completely shriveled in his pots, I jumped out of bed and did a thorough examination.

There are still some stalks in critical condition, but overall the original Planty seems to be pulling through, with new little sprouts to boot.

So, Planty is a daddy. I feel like I should be passing out cigars!

March 21, 2008

Locked and Found

Keys. Funny little things. How you can lose them or lock them in something, like say, a gym locker.

This happened to me today. This is no surprise to those who know me. The losing of them happened my first real night in town after karaoke, which is even less of a surprise. And yes, I have already scoped out and patronized the two locations in town that have this. The surprises are less and less so, I know.

But karaoke is a total aside, and perhaps a topic for another post.

Today, I had to have my lock cut off at the gym because I accidentally shoved my entire set of keys in there with a pile of clothes. Of course I didn't realize this until much too late, cutting my work out short.

The lock was the same one I used to secure the U-Haul door, so it was pretty darn sturdy, but after much wrangling with the cutters it's now gone.

I've made a note to myself to get more house keys made, and maybe another car key. I already have one spare, which came in handy last Monday when my keys fell out of my pocket at Denny's, where I later recovered them.

Moving was supposed to wipe my lost/stolen track record clean...I'm not off to a very good start.

Page Turner

I just added a new link under Colorado Livin'.

It's the website for the little bookshop in Edwards, Colo., called The Bookworm.

It's one of the only bookstores in the area, that I've found anyway, and it has become one of my favorite places to go. I haven't tried the cafe yet, but am hoping to do that soon.

Anyway, their website is really good. Any readers out there will want to check it out. Lots of good recommendations.

I'm happy I have a place like this here to hang out at!

March 19, 2008

'Round and 'Round

D.C. has circles. Dupont, Thomas, Scott, Logan...the list goes on.

Well, so does Vail and Avon - quite a few actually, given the size of these places.

You would think, being smaller towns and all, these circles would be easier to navigate.

Not so.

First of all, there are no lights, which kind of makes sense since the flow of traffic isn't as great. However, this leads nicely to my next point which is: it doesn't matter how MUCH traffic there is, it matters what KIND of traffic there is.

Many people going 'round my new town circles are from out of town (me), and likely haven't driven many circles at all (not me).

And, since there are no lights the whole process is based on blind faith. Faith that someone will yield. Faith that someone is in the "correct" lane so they don't cut you off if they suddenly want to veer off onto a straight road.

I know it took me a while to get a feel for the D.C. circles. But I think once one masters those a small town circle should be simple? No?

This is one argument we could go 'round and 'round on.

March 17, 2008

Back to the Grind - An Attempt, Anyway

Today I have done two major things.

I worked out, and I searched for a job.

I figured it was about time to get myself back into a routine, something I haven't had in a little over a month.

During this time I've basically stopped paying attention to the news, stopped exercising, and...stopped working. But today I put an end to at least two of the three. I got up, actually read some headlines on the computer, then got myself to the gym.

I've been a little concerned about kicking up the cardio after what I'll call...a long rest. The higher altitude was definitely a factor here as well. But, it wasn't as bad as I thought, even though there were a few times I wondered what would happen if I fainted on the elliptical. Fortunately, I didn't find out.

Pounding the pavement for a job was a little like a work out as well, but in a different, less intense way. It required strolling into stores, shaking hands, and filling out applications.

Today's visits? A bookstore, a kitchen store, and Starbucks, where I had to go into some lengthy detail about my previous Starbucks experiences, why I liked coffee, and why I wanted to be a part of the Starbucks family. I didn't tell them it was because I aspired to make the most perfect foam ever (good foam is a big deal for me), but maybe they'll like my response just the same.

So, no job yet, but I at least started the process. And if I can keep up the reading/working out elements of my day I will feel pretty proud.

Next stop, a local pet store.

March 16, 2008

Full Circle

Years ago, when my family moved to Colorado before I started junior high, I was traumatized. I'm talking full-on crying across the country, I hate Colorado and you can never make me like it, traumatized.

However, as Carrie and I drove into Denver this weekend for some good ol' fashioned shopping (ok, she shopped - I still don't have a job and have no business shopping), I thought about how drastically my earlier sentiments had changed.

With this move I could hardly wait to get here!

I looked out at the Denver skyline wondering where all the things I had read about for years in Denver's 5280 magazine were. As we passed places I hadn't been to in ages I added to the already lengthy list of things I wanted to do. Stuff like going to the old steakhouse Traildust and hitting up Sheplers.

We'd made plans to go out someplace fun for drinks, but after a full day of the mall, dinner, Target and an exciting trip to WholeFoods, a movie was what sounded best. Carrie apologized for not wanting to do something downtown, but neither did I and truly, what do I care? I live here now! Again.

March 15, 2008

I Spy

I keep getting all excited every time I see a Wyoming license plate in Colorado.

Though there are several Wyomingites in D.C., seeing a Wyo plate there is still kind of a novelty. Upon spying one, I would always wonder out loud, "Who could THAT be," then punch the gas so I could try to peer in their driver's side window.

A little stalker-esq? Maybe...but the chances of actually knowing that person were pretty darn good.

I've found myself doing the same thing in Colorado, as if Wyoming plates were an incredibly unique discovery here.

Not only do I realize how silly this is, but Carrie and Tyler are likely very tired of me gasping and trying to crane my neck to see who's in the car.

This is one game of "I Spy" on which I need to throw in the towel.

March 14, 2008

You've Got Mail

Or, at least, I do. At the Avon post office!

Carrie and I went to check her P.O. box and lo and behold I had mail, and lots of it.

Getting mail here was very exciting. I had been a little concerned it wouldn't be delivered. The D.C. post office told me a couple different things about what needed to be done in order to forward mail. It being D.C., I automatically assumed they were making information up, or getting it wrong, as is usually the case.

But there it all was, my magazines, a couple final bills, an invitation to J and S's engagement party, and a D.C. jury summons, which I find really funny for some reason.

The pile of mail also made my move seem much more real. Like I'm not just on some extended vacation.

I can't wait to go back.

March 12, 2008

Positively Beaming

I want to take a moment to share something I am very proud of...

I have just finished putting all my stuff away at Carrie's.

This is not monumental for most people, I know. But if you could've seen what I had done to her apartment with boxes and bags you would maybe feel the same way I do. Accomplished. And, as I told a friend earlier, kind of like a squirrel that has hidden its acorns everywhere.

You see, it's not just me who's staying with Carrie right now. Our friend Tyler is also here. And Tyler, being the first to arrive at Carrie's hostel for lost and wandering friends, has the guest room. I tried to put as little in there as I could out of respect for his space, but some things just couldn't be helped.

The rest of my stuff is stored creatively and unintrusively throughout the rest of the apartment. At least that's what I hope she will think.

I would like to be as unsquirrel-esq as possible when it comes time to move, however. So, I've been taking both mental and physical note of where everything is - including my stuff in Linds H.'s house in Laramie. I know that sounds geeky, but I'm hoping when the time comes, it will help me know where all my nuts are stored.

Upon Arrival

On Carrie's fridge:

Colorado Livin'

Well, the countdown has ended. As of Sunday evening I am officially living in Colorado.

So, this is where I change the direction of the blog. I'm not sure how long I'll keep this up, but for a little while anyway, I'll share some thoughts and adventures from my new home.

I know I have some catching up to do. Since I've arrived I've been pretty busy trying to find my way around and find places to store my stuff in C's apartment (I've pretty much destroyed her living room), so unfortunately the blog's been on the back burner.

However, I'm getting a little more settled, so I will try to be better at posting.

Keep checking back for updates!

Songs From the Road

Another Colorado - Jimmy Dale Gilmore
Can't Get You Off My Mind - Lenny Kravitz
Cecelia - Simon andGarfunkle
Dixie Land Delight - Alabama
Don't Stop the Music - Rihanna
Dust on the Bottle - David Lee Murphy
Get Me Bodied - Beyonce
Goodbye Says It All - Blackhawk
Here (In Your Arms) - Hellogoodbye
I'll Be Seeing You - Billie Holiday
In Da Club - 50 Cent
Josh Groban
Jupiter - Jewel
Moving On - Emmylou Harris
My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys - Willie Nelson
Nothing but the Wheel - Patty Loveless
Roamin' Wyoming - Randy Travis
Salome - Chayanne
Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy - Big and Rich
See You Again - Miley Cyrus
S.O.S. - Rihanna
Southern Comfort - Buddy Jewell
Standing Outside the Fire - Garth
Suddenly - LeAnn Rimes
Take a Chance - ABBA
Thank God I'm a Country Boy - John Denver
The Cranberries
Ventura Highway - America
Wicked Game - Chris Isaak
Wide Open Spaces - Dixie Chicks

March 10, 2008


No need to say anything more...

Day 8 - Last Leg to Vail

The day really got started with lunch at the new Corona Village in Laramie with April and her family. I got to meet Jesse, her brand new baby (lots of babies on this trip!) who is adorable. Linds H. said she didn't like the new Village, but I kind of did. Having Taco Tuesday there might not be the same - nothing can beat the long lines and cheap tacos and beer in the dingy, crowded restaurant of our college days - but for a Sunday lunch it wasn't too bad.

After that I had to get down to the awful business of culling Planty. Oh, and it was SO awful. I felt like the bad guy in some slasher movie, hacking off Planty's limbs. I didn't do this with glee, however. I kept apologizing to him - and the two other plants I sacrificed (they weren't going to make it!) for their pots for Planty. I'm a cold-blooded killer...

I finished loading up the car and strapping Plant(ies) into the front seat by me. Linds thinks Planty is to me what Wilson was to Tom Hanks in Castaway. Hmmm...

Depart Laramie at 5:30 p.m., March 9, 2008. (Note: there are really no mile markers on this trip.)

230 W (WY) toward Walden, CO:
-I can't see out the back of my car any more than I could when I had the U-Haul. But at least I can use cruise control!
-I also can't see because the sun is RIGHT in my eyes. Wish I had the darned visor!
-The mountains are rising right in front of me. Love it!
-Feel pretty emotional right now for some reason. I'm excited, but disjointed, also a little lost, but like I'm on the path to finding me. I just feeling like crying right now for no good reason - but for good reason too I guess.
-I can't wait to get started on "The Book - Colorado Edition." Yes, I started one for Colorado long ago.
-A cloud just passed in front of the sun. Relief! At least for a moment.
-A National Forest sign. Don't see those everyday in D.C.
-There are so many fun log cabins with snow piled half way up them. I want one.
-I also want a dog. I am aching for a dog. Have been for a long time, but the size of dog I want wouldn't have been happy in my studio in D.C.
-I also want a Jeep Wrangler. A dog and a Wrangler have really been the only two things I've wanted for my Colorado life. For years now that's all I've thought. I would have bought a Wrangler after the Liberty was stolen and totaled, but another Jeep product in D.C. was not a good idea with my track record.

127 S (CO):
-Drinking my tea from the travel mug Linds C. and Cins made for me!
-I'm going to live in the mountains!
-My car takes forever to heat up.
-Been trying to give the one-fingered wave (no, not the same as flipping the finger, for those who are unfamiliar), but I'm getting no response.
-Maybe it's the D.C. plates. They think I'm a poser. Ha.

14 S (CO) toward Steamboat:
-Driving through snowy northern Colorado with all the ranch signs makes me think of books/movies like Centennial and Lonesome Dove.
-Carrie and I are already planning to go to Denver this weekend to hang out. Hope I have some going out clothes in the back of my car!
-Wide Open Spaces by the Chicks is on. The lyrics are SO appropriate! Particularly the second verse. (I would hyperlink this, but that's not an option on blogger right now! Annoying.) "Many precede and many will follow, A young girl's dream no longer hollow, It takes the shape of a place out west, But what it holds for her, she hasn't yet guessed."
-At Continental Divide 8772 ft.: Pacific Watershed (left)/Atlantic Watershed (right).

9 S (CO) towards Dillon:
-The mountains are actually glowing purple right now. Glowing.
-I love how mountain towns give the elevation and not really the population.
-The definition of a river out here is so different than that out east.
-Love being able to drive with my brights on.
-Last time I drove this stretch was with Kara on our way to Jenn T.'s wedding in Steamboat.

I-70 W (CO) Last stretch to Vail!
-I can't believe I'm almost "home." Whee!
-I wish I could adequately describe the way the moon looks over the mountains right now.
-I will never get tired of seeing the stars again. I say "hi" to Orion every night.
-How scary to be a runaway truck.
-There's the sign for Avon, Colo., where I will actually be living (right outside of Vail).
-Don't know what I think right now. I'm excited and a little nervous. Why am I nervous? I'm not really a nervous person.
-Avon next right!!!
-Here I go! I'm exited. Oh, man.
-Done. I'm almost to Carrie's. So weird!
-Whew - pulling into the apt. complex!

I'm here. It's official. My cross-country journey is over. Wow.

I live out west... (I can't believe it.)
I live out west... (It's sinking in.)


On the Road - Day 6

I have to do a little backtracking. I skipped Day 6 previously because, well, I was really tired that night. Then Day 7 was all about unpacking the U-Haul and I thought that deserved coverage first.

So, Day 6.

It was a little slower. Just hanging out with Linds H. and her baby (who I had yet to meet) in Laramie.

We hit up Jeffrey's, a favorite lunch spot for us, and lounged around the house. After the bad weather getting there the night before, it was nice to kind of lounge (and ignore the 100 lb. gorilla in the driveway, a.k.a. the U-Haul).

That night we went to see Barack Obama at the Arena Auditorium on campus. This will not become a political blog, and I won't spend much time on this. I do want to note, however, that even though I belong to a different camp it was neat to see him in little ol' Wyoming. The history lover in me couldn't pass up the chance to see a presidential candidate in the very town I happened to be in. So I went.

Afterwards, Linds H., Apes and I went to Altitude for some apps and beer. I can NOT get over how cheap everything is here!! It's like living in a wonderland. I'm sure that will all be over when I get to Vail, however.

Another thing I can't believe is that I live here, well not here as in Laramie, but here as in the west, again. Linds H. and I would be driving around and mid-conversation I would yell out, "I can't believe I live here!" It's hard not to think that I'm just on vacation.

I feel nicer out here too. I don't think I'm a mean person by any stretch, but, for example, I didn't want to ram the back end of the guy who pulled into a spot I should have had at the Safeway. I did wonder at his behavior, but I didn't have the urge to walk up to him and address his behavior like I would have in D.C. (We'll see if this lasts. I will continue to monitor my reactions in situations like this and come to a better conclusion later in the blog.)

So, that's it. Day 6 was fairly uneventful. But nice. Like me. Apparently.

March 8, 2008

On the Road - Day 7

It's strange to see your whole life stacked against a wall.

I spent the entire day unpacking the U-Haul and arranging all my possessions - at least the things I won't need immediately - in Linds H.'s garage. And in her laundry room, and there are a few things in her living room and a guest room.
The rest of my stuff is in the back of my car.

It's just funny to think that all of this was, until very recently, spread throughout an entire apartment. Divided between a wall and an SUV, however, it doesn't look like much.

I mentioned to Linds that it seemed kind of sad that this was all I had. But we agreed a moment later that my lack of worldly goods was a positive thing. It kind of fits the whole unfettered, come what may attitude and approach I am taking with my life right now.
And, it's kind of fun to feel like a hobo. No real home or job, and very few things I will be taking with me to Vail from Laramie. However, of all the things I don't have, the one thing I wish I did is a knapsack - just to complete the image.


I just dropped off the U-Haul in Laramie.

It is A-MAZ-ING to not have that thing attached to my car. I am SO happy to be rid of it!

I feel like my car can fly! I imagine, if it could, my car would kick up its heels like a bucking bronco for the sheer happiness of being light and free again.


March 7, 2008


The spacing on Day 5 is out of control. I can't fix it. Please just ignore it.

Also, it was brought to my attention that I had the blog set so that people had to log in with a username and password before commenting. This should be fixed now.

Happy reading!

On the Road - Day 5

Day 5 starts with me and my brother-in-law wrestling Planty back into the car and rearranging, well, essentially everything. Poor Planty...portions of him or not doing so well.

I throw on the pink striped shirt and throw out the "Colorado or Bust" sign (sorry girls, but I couldn't see), and head up to the hospital for one last visit with my sister and new nephew.

I decide I need a Starbucks to keep me going, but the parking lot is pretty tight and there is absolutely nowhere for me to park my "rig." My solution? Go through the drive up, of course. The guy at the window is really nice and funny and asks what I'm up to with that thing. I contemplate answering with, "Joyride," but instead politely tell him what I'm doing. He thinks it's cool. Now, thanks to the gift card from Jess E., I've got my caffeine and can hit the road.

Depart Omaha at about 1 p.m., inhaling an iced coffee and more of Jenn T.'s hummus.

MM 445 (80 west, NE): I say (out loud) to my car, "Come on, Gwennie. You can do it. After a nice rest and some fresh fuel we can beat this wind and hills!"

443: Do I worry more about explaining to my readers why I call my car Gwennie, or that I'm talking out loud to it?

440: There is a lot happening on the side of the road in Omaha - there are cones, cops, construction, broken down cars and blinking signs. Whew!

438: My iPod is playing REALLY good music right now!

433: Kim's Kar Karaoke starts, which I haven't been able to do this whole trip. I've been too congested. This is especially hard on me when a "real" karaoke song comes on my iPod.

431: It's much easier to drive (un)safely - writing, driving, drinking, eating, and hauling - in the rural, open spaces.

425: What's the Genius Bar fact from the Apple store? Something about being able to travel from coast to coast four times without hearing the same song twice if you have an 80 gig.

423.8: I love SFCD (that's sugar-free cinnamon dulce) syrup.

423.4: I fully expect to be working at Starbucks in a week. I'm even abbreviating like they do on the cups.

422.4: Can't hear John Denver's Thank God I'm a Country Boy without thinking of Pauly Shore in Son-in-Law.

420.4: Love the line from the song "cakes on the griddle."

419.8: I love the word griddle. And fiddle. That reminds me of Fiddlesticks the Clown, a.k.a. my old colleague in Old Town who comes from a long line of registered clowns. Crazy.

418.6: baby Judd is so cute! I wonder what babies dream about when they sleep.

413.2: Seriously, my iPod is playing the perfect random mix right now!

412.2: I love watertowers. They're so small town America.

410.8: I love iced coffees. Sad, I just finished mine.

409.6: SO wonderful to be on an interstate and to be able to drive it like one. No traffic, no inching forward. I can breathe and drive, and I do love to drive. It's therapeutic.

401.0: Simon and Garfunkle's Cecelia comes on. This is SO being broken down with Linds H. and Steph outside Wheatland, Wyo., and thinking we're going to be murdered by the tow truck guy.

396.0: Beatrice, Neb. Another name I'm glad isn't mine.

395.4: I really enjoy my own company. I can totally entertain myself. HA!

393.6: On a radio station, "When a man talks dirty to a woman it's sexual harrassment. When a woman talks dirty to a man it's $3.95 a minute. What everyone is listening to? Z92 Nebraska!"

392.8: Why are there so many teal cars in Nebraska?

388.0: Always wonder how towns are named. Makes sense if it's after a person or event, etc., but who ultimately decides? Is there a naming committee? Do the townsfolk take a vote?

384.8: Keep thinking about how cute Judd is.

374.0: I can't wait to get the D.C. parking stickers off my car.

369: The mile markers keep going from decimals to none. Make up your mind!

365: Really dislike being passed by every semi on the road.

363: When I see a town in one state that I know is also in another, I wonder which was first.

357: Next rest area 40 miles. I MUST get over.

At rest area: I pretty much hang up on Linds H. to get inside.

"Get ur dun" on a semi's mudflaps. Reminds me of Chris T.

353: I've learned to like the song Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy. I hated it at first, but now it's funny. Jonna is reading this and is appalled.

334:U-Haul buddy!

332: Aurora, Neb., there's one in Colorado too.

320: I'm starting a teal car count.

270: Ahhh...western skies! I can see for miles. This is one reason I really liked D.C. It's built out and not up, lots of light and sky.

257: Josh Groban on. He always reminds me of Elly who melts like butter on a hot "griddle" over him.

256: Alabama's Dixie Land Delight is on. My favorite part is the tamborine "ching" after, "Got a little jingle."

255: Utah. Now THERE'S a license plate. Pretty, and represents the state. Missouri could learn something!

250: Beyonce is on and the car just became a party mobile. (Yes, I will document every time she comes on.)

232: My visor is now dangling in front of my face. I tried to pull it to the side to shield the sun and instead it fell right off. I rig it with safety pins at the next rest area.

At rest area: I love pulling in with the trucks.

228: A Penske moving truck.

218: My iPod likes the Cranberries lately. I've decided I like them again too.

216: S.O.S. by Rihanna. Erin used to be S.O. obsessed with this song!

214: The wind has eased up a bit. That'll be good for gas.

212: Sign for Lasso Espresso. This is really funny for some reason.

208: The first signs for Cheyenne and Denver!

201: I hate the strings on bananas. They totally gross me out.

196: A truck carrying a bunch of pop-up campers just passed. First, I like the word pop-up. Second, pop-ups are amazing. It's wild that an entire living area comes out of a squashed down box.

190: The wind is back.

181: Patty Loveless Nothing But the Wheel is on. I have always, always loved this song. Especially the part about driving at 3 a.m. with nothing but the trucks. That's my favorite time to drive. Just you and the sleeping world.

170: Southern Comfort by Buddy Jewell. This is Kara and I driving from Denver to Steamboat for Jenn T.'s wedding.

163: I'm concerned about Planty.

157: heading into the sunset. Sure wish my visor wasn't pinned to my ceiling.

152: U-Haul buddy going east!

130: In Da Club - so Chris T. and the movie my colleagues and I made for a work project. HA!

At Ogallala: Grey Goose Lodge. I could go for a Grey Goose martini about now.

125: I like the word Ogallala. Linds H. and I just discussed not liking writing it, but I've decided I kind of do.

121: I just ate what will be my last bite of Jenn T.'s hummus. I tried to make it stretch to Wyoming, but it's time to throw the last bit out.

115: The clouds are really streaky like a storm is brewing. What would I do if a tornado came out of them? I dream a lot about tornadoes. One recurring one in particular where I look at the skyline and there are hundreds of them coming out of the clouds. I wonder what that means.

111: A tumbleweed!

110: Tumbleweed 2.

110.5: Tumbleweed 3. I'm in a little winter squall right now with horizontal snow and am cracking up over the tumbleweeds!

84: It is SO open. The inky sky meeting the barely discernible land. I actually say out loud, "Look at it!" I am so excited! Now I'm misty-eyed.

85: Still have goosebumps and mist. (That's the third goose reference this leg of the trip.)

84: David Lee Murphy is on. He's from Herrin, Ill., where my dad grew up and Grandma still lives. The only thing I will be missing on this trip is my Grandma's 80th birthday celebration on Saturday.

75: I love truckers. I like the way they flash their lights to let me know it's alright to get back over. It's like, since I'm hauling something, I'm one of them. Sort of.

I want to ruin the Conoco in Sidney, Neb. (Linds C. - I figured out what Sidney, NE is for you!) There's a U-Haul buddy at the pump next to me where the station is trying to rip me off. I will not give them my money. Moving on.

38: I can see a bazillion stars! I love it! There's Orion, my favorite constellation. He's been my main celestial squeeze since 2nd grade when I learned about him.

29: I'm about to wet my pants because I refused to be in the Sidney Conoco a minute longer.

**Readers - Kimball gas is the way to go!**

After Pine Bluffs, Wyo.: I couldn't see the road at all outside Kimball. Blowing snow, 45 mph. Pretty bad.

358 (WY): Can't believe I'm not just visiting.

337: I can not WAIT to dump this trailer.

The rest is without mile markers and really not much thought because I hit more bad weather on the pass into Laramie and was totally focused on the road.

So excited to get into Laramie and see Linds H.!!

I pull in, after missing her road twice, and we unload Planty and some other stuff.

We finally hit the hay after much (needed) wine.

I'll be here until Sunday.

Total teal car count: 8

March 5, 2008

On the Road - Days 3 and 4

I have to do a little catch up on the blog.

I got to Omaha on Day 2 and have been here since. I decided to stay over a few days to be with my sister when she had her third baby, which was this afternoon!

The timing of my trip couldn't have been more perfect. I haven't seen any of my nephews this soon after being born, so this was a real treat.

So, the past couple days I've just been hanging out with my family and waiting for baby Judd to arrive.

Clearly, the nephew is the most exciting news, but here's a quick run down on some other notable news from the last two days:
- I received a new credit card yesterday. I now have the ability to make the rest of my trip on my own dime.
- I have clean laundry! This is significant since I've had a limited pool of items to choose from and I've reached the limit on how long a person should wear some things...
- Sadly, Planty will likely need to be culled. He got a little cold sitting in the car yesterday and some of the older leaves are pretty droopy, probably not recoverable. (I'm pretty sure everyone knows who Planty is, but just in case: he's the enormous Little Shop of Horrors-esq plant I've had for nearly 31 years now. My dad brought him in to the delivery room when I was born and we were both just wee things. We've grown up together - he's come everywhere with me - and I know I will feel pain every time I clip and separate his leaves.)

I'll be back on the road tomorrow for Laramie! More posts to come!

March 4, 2008

On the Road - Day 2

The second day starts with unpacking the U-Haul. My phone charger was packed accidentally and my phone is dead. No matter how long my dad and I stand there trying to memorize how my stuff was loaded we can NOT figure out how Jenn T. had it in there. It just won't go back in. I am super annoyed. Two chairs have been left behind in Hermann.

There's also a winter storm warning for most of Missouri with 6-12 inches expected. I need to get on the road.

Depart Hermann, MO, and my dad at 1 p.m., March 3:

I-70 west

MM 69.4 (MO): Sorry Linds C., but I'm not wearing the pink striped shirt today.

MM 88.2 (MO): Missouri mile markers are weird. They have one every 2/10 of a mile. And are very detailed.

MM 164.2 (MO): I'm surprised I haven't seen more U-Hauls. I guess winter isn't a big moving season.

MM 158.6 (MO): A Budget rental truck just passed. Looks like someone else is moving afterall.

MM 154.6 (MO): I wish I had a CB. Like a trucker. I've always kind of wanted to do that.

MM 143.8 (MO): Missouri billboards are crazy. One will be all religious and the next is for XXX porn.

MM 137.4 (MO): I LOVE the Hellogoodbye song Here (In Your Arms). Still.

63 north (MO) toward Macon, MO

The mile markers aren't as detailed. In fact there aren't any numbers. Must be an I-70 thing. Here is just a random string of thoughts up 63:

- If you really think about it the U.S. highway system is amazing.
- I need to call/text everyone who has been trying to reach me. So annoyed my phone died.
- I can't wait to use my new snowshoes!
- I love red barns. And Willie Nelson. These are not related.
- I **love** Chris Isaak. So good in concert at Wolf Trap!
- I hate not being able to go the speed limit. I haven't had to eat my "Road Rage" pills from the girls yet.
- Jupiter by Jewel is on. Contrary to popular belief this is the first song I ever sang for karaoke. In Glenrock, WY.
- The company called Ditch Witch cracks me up!
- Mark Twain Cave...never went to Luray Caverns! And I always wanted to plan that group outing. Darn.
- On the Macon water tower: Home of Toastmaster. Who knew?
- ARGH! I didn't call the credit union today to get a new credit card!

36 west (MO)toward St. Joseph

- I'm going to admit this to everyone...I love the Miley Cyrus song See You Again. I know nobody is surprised.
- I wonder what Lewis and Clark thought as they crossed the country. And what the land looked like back then. I think about that all the time.
- And what the world looked like in the time of dinosaurs.
- Ethel, MO. I'm glad my name's not Ethel.
- Salome just came on. This is latin dancing with Erin - particularly at the Austrian embassy! haha.
- Mussel Fork Creek. I'm going to miss really fresh seafood.
- I like the word naughty. Rihanna says that a lot in her songs.

29 north (MO)

Back to numbered mile markers with decimals. Must be an interstate thing not a highway thing.

MM 66.2 (MO): The thought of my white, empty apt. is sad.

68.2: I kind of feel like I'm just on a long trip. Then I look in the rearview mirror and see nothing but U-Haul - and Planty.

71.2: I wonder if the girls are on my doorstep with a bottle of wine...

75.8: The sun setting over the snowy Missouri fields is really pretty.

81.6: I've never understood Missouri license plates. The font and colors and the squiggly line all look very surfer-esq. Like Baja Fresh-ish. Not very representative of Missouri.

86.2: Beyonce's Get Me Bodied just came on! The song that got us all on the dance floor at my going away.

88.2: Cindy and Mariah on the dance floor Friday night. Step Up 3??

91.4: Lenny Kravitz lyrics: "Life is just a lonely highway, I'm out here on the open road, I'm old enough to see behind me, But young enough to feel my soul..." I've always loved this song. I used to put it on repeat when I was recruiting at Casper College.

92.0: Craig, MO. There's a Craig, CO.

97.2: Suddenly by LeAnn Rimes just came on. The lyrics are really cheesy, but remarkably appropriate!

99.8: Suddenly again.

103.8: Suddenly one last time.

113.0: Paco would love to be in the car right now - Take a Chance by Abba is on. A cross country road trip with Paco? Wouldn't work.

29 north (IA)

I have a lot of lame songs on my iPod.

Just turned on to 1-80 west! The last interstate I will be on until I hit Wyoming.

8:30 p.m. Arrive at my youngest sister's house in Omaha.

March 3, 2008

On the Road - Day 1

As my dad and I headed down the road I thought about how to handle the cross country portion of the blog. I don't know that I've hit on an exact formula, but I decided I would cover yesterday's trip anyway by mile marker and town.

So, here's a run down on some of the thoughts that crossed my mind as I crossed the country.

Departure from D.C.: approx. 8:30 a.m., March 2.

495 exit on Georgia Ave.: "D@*n it! I can't believe this! What in the world was I thinking?!"

At Germantown: There is a Ford pick-up in front of us with a guy wearing a cowboy hat, while John Denver's Country Roads song plays from Erin's CD. I take it as a sign.

Mile Marker 19 (MD): EmmyLou Harris sings Moving On. I wonder who will take over all the events throughout the year? Oh yeah, Linds C. who I bequeathed "The Book" to. Wow, when I told her she would be the keeper of "The Book" she screamed and gave an I-just-won-an-Oscar speech. (This is just the response I was hoping for.)

MM 25 (MD): Song, "...the best is yet to come and won't it be fine..."

MM 28(MD): Garth Brooks' Standing Outside the Fire. People have told me what I'm doing is brave. We'll soon see! It might be just plain stupid.

Junction at 76: We're really leaving town behind and appropriately the lyrics, "...I'll be seeing you..." are on the CD.

Just climbed Braddock "Mountain" at 985 feet. That's a hill compared to where I'm going!

MM 45 (MD): Blackhawk's Goodbye Says it All is on.

MM 40 (MD): Thinking about Cindy's comments on how appropriate it is all my boxes are from Trader Joe's and the liquor store.

MM 39 (MD): There aren't any Trader Joe's in Colorado. Sad!! How many songs was Erin able to fit on one disk anyway?!

MM 31 (MD): I wonder what percentage of the weight of my car is in Kleenexes?

MM 22 (MD): How did highways and interstates get assigned their numbers? Who decided it would be called I-70?

MM 17 (MD): Ventura Highway by America. I think (Ad)Ventura Highway. I'm so clever. ha!

MM 9 (MD): Dixie Chicks Wide Open Spaces. Seriously, the CD is still going. Wow.

MM 6 (MD): End of disk 1. Wow again.

Sideling Mtn. at 1300 ft.

Polish Mtn. at 1275 ft.

Just passed "Vale" Summit Road. Another sign!

Big Summit Mtn. at 2800 ft. Big...ha.

Meadow Mtn. 2870 ft.

Negro Mtn. 2800 ft. What a name...

Junction for 79: In WV now. Just passed a Wal-Mart. Soon this will be my major shopping center...

MM 5 (PA): I can't believe I'm moving to Colorado. And I have a low-fat chocolate chip granola bar thanks to Linds C. and Cins. Dad is enjoying my going away pretzels.

MM 17 (PA): There's a dead turkey on the side of the road. I've never seen a dead turkey as roadkill.

At Wheeling WV: Randy Travis Roamin' Wyoming comes on my iPod.

MM 215 (OH): We crack out Jenn T.'s hummus. DELICIOUS.

MM 196 (OH): I feel relieved for two reasons. I loved not having to go in to work this last week. Like Jamie said, anytime I feel sad just think of SDI. I'm also relieved to have everything done and be on the road, just heading to someplace where I can finally relax and rest.

MM 185 (OH): What did I ever do before iPods??

At Cleveland, OH: I can't believe I'm moving back. Weird!

Going through Zanesville, OH: Dad is telling me about Great Grandpa Sears and how he worked in a pottery factory in Zanesville. Also telling me how he learned to water ski on Licking River where Great Aunt Katie and Great Uncle Ernie had a boat. I didn't know dad knew how to water ski!

Dayton, OH: My first U-Haul buddy on the road! I wonder what people think as they pass me with the U-Haul. I know I always wonder where they're moving from and going to.

Eaton, OH, just before the Indiana border: Just witnessed an accident! A car just turned over in the median! It's in bad, bad shape. Smoking, smashed. Person looked like they were moving though. Lots of people on the other side of the road have stopped to help/call.

At the IN border: There goes a cop toward the accident. Good.

MM 16 (IN): A Colorado license plate! Another sign...

Just passed through Montrose, IL. There's a Montrose, CO. Signs everywhere.

Effingham, IL: I'm LOVING my salad from Subway. First meal of the day. We've survived off baby pitas and hummus, apples, bananas, pretzels and cheddar Chex Mix. Thanks again girls!

MM 199 (MO): My favorite quote from Friday night...John says, "Kim, I thought about paying a homeless man $20 to come in and threaten your life." Ah, those Florida and U St. days!

1 a.m.: I'm pulling into Hermann, MO. Jimmy Dale Gilmore's Another Colorado followed by Willie Nelson's My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys have just randomly played on my iPod.


Pulling Away

Maybe it was because I cried so much in my apartment the night before, but pulling away yesterday was a remarkably dry affair - aside from telling Cindy bye at the car...that was a little sloppy.

I was a little nervous to get in the car at first because that would be so final. So, Cindy and I stood there and stretched out the conversation until there was no other choice but to hop in. Once I did though, I was - ok. I had already decided to drive around the block so I wouldn't have to go down 16th past my place. I had my moment the night before and didn't want to revisit it. So, 'round about I went to the hotel to get my dad.

As we headed toward 495 things like, this is how I used to go to Carrie's popped in my head. We passed Carter Barron which, I explained to my dad, is where we go every summer for the free Shakespeare in the park...

All these thoughts with only a bit of mist in the eye - no gasping or blubbering like I had totally expected, and I think my dad was as prepared as he could be to witness (and likely much relieved he didn't have to!).

I did take the wrong exit on to 495 though. Oops! My mind was preoccupied, and before we knew it we were heading east, which totally defeats the purpose of the trip, which is to be heading west. Yeah.

Once we got going I decided to put the CDs in that Erin had made me for the trip. That's kind of our thing. We used to listen to music in the Congressman's office when we shared office space and would make CDs for each other for all sorts of random events. While I was packing I ran across Babysitters Gone Wild disks 1-4. Don't ask...

The CDs, which I hadn't had time to put on my iPod, were a mix of songs with goodbye or driving or moving-on lyrics, and some songs that Erin said reminded her of me or us hanging out.

They were perfect. So well done! And instead of making me cry, they made me smile and feel good about what I was doing.

So, that's how I left D.C. behind. With fond memories and a smile as I headed, west!!

March 2, 2008


This may be just a bunch of random thoughts...we'll see how it goes.

The packing and painting party may not have been the best event I've ever hosted, but it was nice to have so many people willing to help me get the last minute stuff done.

Jenn is amazing, like she should give up her day job amazing, at packing. Everyone might have brought stuff down to the U-Haul, but that girl nearly singlehandedly made it all fit, and there was some concern about that. It's like a giant puzzle that is pieced together perfectly. I could go on and on, but you just have to witness her skills yourself. Call her if you ever need to pack anything - even a suitcase.

Jess captained the painting team. My walls are now white. Weird. Jess is the artsy friend so I knew this task would be in good hands. Somehow the painters were able to stretch just one can of primer so I could get the building managers to sign off on the walls. Good work team!

Everything got done. And I want to thank everyone or helping. I truly couldn't have done it without them. I also need to thank Trish, who did a lot to help me with the stolen purse and to get things going in the morning. She took care of my U-Haul since I can't access money, and basically made sure the day got off on the right foot.

After a celebratory dinner at Stoney's I went back.

I had kept a bottle of wine out so my apartment and I could have a few minutes of alone time together before I turned in the keys.

Oh, that was hard. I sat there on my floor with a glass of red looking at my empty, white apartment and just cried.

My last eight years there paraded through my mind. My home. My life here. From all the people and events that had been in there to just my every day living. I walked through the rooms and thought about silly things, like putting on my make-up in the bathroom mirror, looking at the scuff marks on the closet wall where I had pitched so many shoes, remembering how many bottles of champagne had been popped over my kitchen sink. I stood in the breakfast nook looking at the flag on the Carnegie building down the street that I used nearly every day to tell the weather. I thought about how the light came in my "bedroom" windows in the morning, where I normally threw my keys...

It was bad.

Then I talked to a couple friends. One in particular took time out from a house party to cheer me up, which I really appreciated. Ryan said a lot of things that were spot on and by the time we got off the phone I felt like I could at least get off the floor.

I packed up the bottle of wine and went to the door.

I stood for what seemed like an eternity with my hand on the light switch. I just couldn't do it. I cried again as I looked around my poor, empty apartment.

Then my hand unintentionally flinched and the light flickered. Then quickly, like pulling off a Band-Aid, I turned it all the way off.


February has pretty much wiped me out. There's been a lot going on to get ready for my departure and lots of social events. And I've been sick, which I never am, but I can't seem to get rid of whatever it is I've got. Thursday night's wine and martinis didn't do a lot to help either - but I wouldn't take them back.

I woke up on Friday and just wanted to sleep. Particularly as I looked around my deconstructed apartment and the yellow walls that still needed painting back to white.

But I dragged myself out of bed and called Jenn to talk about Saturday's packing plan and if she could bring her truck.

As I was headed downtown to pick up some boxes and a dolly from her I had a mini breakdown in the car. I was a wreck! A sappy Top 40 song came on and the tears came out. I didn't feel well, I was tired, I was sad, I had so much to do and very little time left...I know, I know...cry me a river (this was not the song playing either!).

But it's true. This was my Friday.

I had one last take-out order from Sushi Taro, got it together and got packing. I also got a surprising amount done, with time left for a relaxing bath and to get ready for my going away party without rushing.

Kara came over to say goodbye since she wouldn't be able to make the party. Another one...

But the party! Linds and Cins did an amazing job! I love, loved it! There were Splenditos and Colorado Bulldogs as the drinks specials. Hilarious trinkets laying everywhere to help with the road trip and to help get settled in Colorado. And the "Kimmy Goes to Washington" book was absolutely awesome. There were friends there I hadn't seen in a while and some I had seen the night before. It was perfect.

CK leaving was the beginning of the waterworks, then John and by one I had to say goodbye to my family.

I must have been so caught up in this that I didn't notice my purse had been stolen one last time. Can you believe it?! Oh wait, I've asked that question before. I thought my bike would be the end of it, but no. Through some crazy miscommunication within the group it was gone. With my driver's license (kind of necessary for a long road trip) and all my access to money. Not to mention a couple really nice gift cards I was excited for.

So, one last time I was able to get everyone on their hands and knees turning over another bar trying to find my purse. Maybe I cursed myself with a previous post on this? Hmmm...

This is where I repeat the sentiments of another past post about how I have such great friends. Everyone stepped up, offered me cash, credit cards, whatever I needed. I hate that they had to do it, but I love that they did. They are great, great friends.

So that is how my going away party ended. It was awful at the end, but so appropriate. It just couldn't have ended any other way.


Thursday night's "family" dinner was when reality started setting in.

With so much to do I wasn't really thinking about what would happen the next couple days. It was just pack, pack, pack.

But Thursday night's dinner at Buca di Beppo's was a bit of a wake up call.

Minus a few key folks, all of my best and closest old gaurd D.C. crew were there. I must say that of all the events of the past month Thursday night's "family" dinner was the tops.

I was so happy looking around the table at everyone. And sad. That's when I started to get really sad.

Jess made a nice toast...and Rob made a card with a polka-dotted unicorn. Then CK "contracted" him to draw a doll brandishing a knife and it was all downhill from there! (For those that don't know, and I don't know how you couldn't, I'm very afraid of dolls!)

I have all the handmade cards that everyone "created like crazy" in my purse right now. From Kara's black rose that is supposedly dying in Colorado's cold snow, to Mike's naked woman and Trish's recreation of the night she, we'll say, napped on my doorstep. They're all in my purse.

The wine, laughter and jokes were flowing. And the laughter and jokes just got louder and more ridiculous with the continuous stream of wine.

There were shots. Good grief. And a beer drinking game - what?! Oh wait, this is the group. You can't take us anywhere.

A group signed bottle of chianti hangs above the table...

Then Erin left. The first friend I had to say goodbye to. And that was hard.

A martini at the Russia House and a cold walk home eased the pain though!

Friday night was my official going away party, and it was great, but Thursday night was my favorite. It was my group the way we always are. And that's the memory I love.

Catching Up

I have some catching up to do.  The past couple days have been so busy!  I just couldn't justify sitting for an hour on the computer when there was so much last minute packing, and so many odds and ends that needed wrapping up.

It's the morning of my departure and I want to share my thoughts on the past (last) few days.  

The blog will be changing a little since we're basically at blastoff.  The next phase will be my thoughts and adventures 'cross country, then what happens as I settle in to my new home state!

Since I'm short on time, the next few posts might just be a bunch of random thoughts, but I want to get them down before this phase ends. 

So, let's go back a few days...

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